\Trog"lo*dyte\, n. [L. troglodytae, pl., Gr. ? one who
creeps into holes; ? a hole, cavern (fr. ? to gnaw) + ? enter: cf. F.
troglodyte.] 1. (Ethnol.) One of any savage race that dwells in caves,
instead of constructing dwellings; a cave dweller. Most of the primitive
races of man were troglodytes.
says Webster's. In France there are a lot of troglodytic dwellings, most of them
carved back into the soft limestone cliffs. It may have started when they dug
cellars for storing wine and produce, and noticed how comfortable it was on a
hot day. Somebody said "Why not just move in here?" and a trend was
born. The temperature remains constant, and the walls are sturdy, but
ventilation and illumination are a problem. On the left is a typical one that we
saw in Amboise, complete with satellite dishes. On the right are the ruins of
some above the town of La Roche-Gagéac on the
Dordogne, reminiscent of the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings in Colorado, though
these may be older.
Near Saumur, in Rochemenier,
there are some farms that were built underground. They are now preserved as a
sort of open air museum. Think of a building site where they have dug a large
square pit for the basement, and there is a ramp up one side for the trucks
hauling away the dirt. That's sort of what the farmyards are like, except that
they are smaller; maybe 50 feet in the longest dimension. The house, the barn,
the sheds are then all dug back into the walls of this pit.